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Home » Articles »   By Michael Phillips
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Thursday, January 27,2011

Strangled love

By Michael Phillips
The director has characterized the film as a love story in the flashbacks and a tragedy in the present, and the way the two halves are spliced together intentionally answers some questions and leaves others dangling.
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Thursday, January 27,2011

Company bust

By Michael Phillips
The actors in this tale of recessionary morals, ethics and consequences are all very good, from Ben Affleck (as Bobby, the central figure, struggling with a grim job market and plummeting self-esteem) to Rosemarie DeWitt (terrific in Rachel Getting Married.
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Thursday, January 20,2011

Poorly timed gun fetishization

By Michael Phillips
In the wake of the recent massacre in Tucson, Ariz., it's suddenly, temporarily, a little harder to laugh off scene after scene of obsessive gun fetishization and mass slaughter in a superhero vigilante lark. I'm as much of a hypocrite as any moviegoer on the issue of diversionary screen violence.
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Thursday, January 20,2011

Unwelcome drama

By Michael Phillips
Though it offers plenty of larky scenes, such as Vince Vaughn and Kevin James man-dancing together at the Green Mill (the popular Chicago jazz club) or taking in a Blackhawks game, it's darker than any of the ads suggest.
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Thursday, December 30,2010

Focker off

By Michael Phillips
The old gangs back, dutifully, including Teri Polo (marginalized no less than her little Fockers) as Greg Fockers generic wife, Pam; Blythe Danner as Jacks wife, Dina, all patience and understanding; Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as Bernie...
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Thursday, December 30,2010

Assignment fulfilled

By Michael Phillips
A droll Jeff Bridges, as the Confederate Civil War veteran and U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, keeps his voice far, far back in his throat, back where the whiskey and gravel resides.
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Thursday, December 23,2010

Fun with boxing

By Michael Phillips
Dicky, played as a chemically addled whirligig by Christian Bale, was once the 'pride of Lowell,' having knocked down (or did he slip?) Sugar Ray Leonard. Lately Dicky has been relegated to the role of trainer; his half-brother, Micky, played by Mark Wahlberg, is the family's new hope for boxing glory.
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Thursday, December 16,2010

A thriller for grandma

By Michael Phillips
Depp plays the wrong man in this wrong-man scenario, a Midwestern shmo picked up by Jolies character, Elise, on a train from Paris to Venice. Elise, a Brit, is the paramour of a man who stole billions belonging to a London gangster (Steven Berkoff )..
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Thursday, December 9,2010

Bungled burlesque

By Michael Phillips
After a few bars of 80s synthesizer and a travel montage, young Ali gets off the bus to L.A. and stumbles head first into a swanky neo-burlesque joint on Sunset Boulevard, run by someone named Tess played by something called Cher.
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Thursday, December 9,2010

Love high

By Michael Phillips
Unlike most rom-coms, the nuditys matter-of-fact here and, at its best, honest. The sexual current between the shallow Lothario portrayed by Gyllenhaal (a Viagra salesman, and how) and Hathaways coffeehouse waitress and part-time artist, who is...
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